(1939-12-21) A Very Malfoy Christmas
Details for A Very Malfoy Christmas
Summary: The Malfoys throw open the doors of Malfoy Manor for the cream of wizarding society - and a few others manage to sneak in, too - as they hold their annual Yule fete.
Date: 21 December 1939
Location: Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire, England

At the end of a long, straight drive behind ornate wrought iron gates lies Malfoy Manor, the ancient ancestral home of the famous family of wizards. The front hallway features ornate imported area rugs covering the smooth stone floor, while an enormous fireplace burns with large yule logs. A tree, magically decorated with baubles of all sorts, gleams in the corner, a perfect fir that stretches up almost the full two stories of the hall's height and is topped with a glowing star. From the walls, the pale-faced, golden-haired progenitors of the Malfoy line stare down in mild disapproval of everyone and everything, safely ensconced in their gilt frames.

Off the main hall is a wood-paneled drawing room with another huge fireplace, the portraits in here less severe, and mixed in with some landscapes and older battle paintings showing men in armor atop charging steeds, but with wands instead of lances. Heavy black leather furniture provides a place to relax while the huge table is filled with all sorts of refreshments. There is also a library on the lower floor, its diamond-pane windows filling one wall, while tall shelves filled with ancient books and scrolls fill the other walls.

The candles and lights on the tree twinkle, and soft music fills the air providing a festive backdrop as Malfoy Manor welcomes the great and the good of Wizarding Society. Abraxas is with his parents, welcoming guests, and manages to look appropriately polite for the Malfoy heir - apparently, all his work at self-control and etiquette is starting to pay off, even if Enceladus's gravitas is many years away. Servants, some hired on for the evening, pass drinks and canapes around, and more substantial offerings are found in the drawing room.

Gareth arrives with his parents, Geriant and Anwen, along with his maternal grandmother, Gwyneth Yvor (Eibon). All are decked out in fine and festive dress robes, the women's hair done up in elaborate styles and sparkling with antique jewels. For all his big talk at school and on the train, Gareth looks decidedly uncomfortable — almost frightened — by the crowd of well-dress, pure-blooded witches and wizards, the cream of society. He's civil enough when he greets Abraxas and his formidable parents, but quickly excuses himself to hurry off to a corner, after snagging a goblet of something likely too strong for him, leaving his family to chat pleasantly for a bit.

A horse-drawn carriage pulls up to the Malfoy Manor. Wearing formal dress robes of emerald green, out steps the controversial figure of Cassius Malfoy. He puts up a hand, politely turning aside the footman's assistance. Holding out his hand, he assists Rhyeline Diderot out of the carriage. She wears a gown of pale green silk, embroidered with silver thread. She keeps close at Cassius' side as he leads her up the steps and into the Malfoy Manor to greet the Patriarch of the Malfoy Family.

Abraxas exchanges a few pleasantries with all the arriving guests. He even kisses Grandma Carrow's hand gallantly - hopefully she doesn't know the things he's said about her birth family recently, pureblood or not. Then again, Abraxas doesn't seem to care much about what people think about the sometimes-outrageous things he says. He shakes hands with Cassius as well, "Cousin, glad you could make it." Rhyeline also gets a kiss of the hand before they're allowed to go off and mingle.

Enceladus and Eurydice Malfoy, the Patriarch himself and his much younger wife, are likewise greeing those who arrive. Eurydice got all of her kissing of Abraxas's cheeks out of the way earlier, and he's managed to scrub off the lipstick by now. Enceladus shakes hands with Cassius and nods to his fiancee.

Already inside, Hattie Wilkins— not even wielding a tray, but dressed very nicely in teal and magenta brocade— is putting the gift of a festively dressed rosemary shrub amongst the host presents, and is admiring the decorations of the vast manor with undisguised delight. Though apparently unaccompanied amongst the blue bloods, she doesn't seem to mind about seeking out the other Hogwarts students and at least saying hello, even though in many instances it will be a tepid reception. She does so with Gareth, "Merry Christmas, Carrow… you look nice."

A soft, shy smile finds its way to Rhyeline's lips as she greets Abraxas. She nods to him and murmurs a soft greeting. Looking to Enceladus and Eurydice Malfoy, Rhyeline lifts her chin trying to maintain a calm poise as she greets them. At Enceladus' nod, she bows her head and dips into a respectful curtsy. With a charismatic smile, Cassius exchanges a few more pleasantries before leading her away.

Gareth nearly chokes on a mouthful of whatever is in his goblet, eyes bugging wide with surprise when he hears a voice speaking to him. Managing to swallow, he turns his reddening face toward Hattie. "Oh, Wilkins. Yes, Happy Christmas. You're looking rather pleasant yourself. Are you…here with someone?" His brows draw together in confusion, as he looks around, trying to figure out who would bring a half-blood Ravenclaw to the stronghold of the purest pureblood family in the land.

Clear the way, boys - the lady has arrived. All you handsome fellows, wait for her to the right…

Beryl Crabbe makes her entrance into the Malfoy Manor with the fluid grace and attitude of a silky feline who's been off on some grand affair and finally deigned to rejoin society on her own time. The train of a lush, deep burgundy evening down sweeps silently over the floor behind her; and she is wrapped in a deliciously expensive mink coat. Her delicate chin, she carries high, despite her short stature, and she appears to compass the room full of guests through lowered lashes with those cool, green eyes of hers. Not a strand of her curly auburn hair is out of place (for once) and everything about her exudes a sense of confidence. Small wonder that a confident smile tugs on her prim little mouth; Beryl Crabbe is rejoining the human race after a rather long absence. It's good to be back.

It seems what he should be studying is how his brother always gets out of events, and somehow talks him into going as the family representative, but for that reason or if he actually wanted to show up. No matter the reason Galahad Weasley arrives and wonders if he'll have any allies here to talk to. He will hopefully be shown inside and not turned away at the gate which would be step number one. He is wearing his robes for party occasions formal but still comfortable.

The wrought iron gates - which usually turn into a face and challenge visitors who don't know the proper salute to enter - are open this evening. While there are guardwitches stationed in discrete locations throughout the house, and another checking invitations, it's not as hard to get in here as it usually is, at least if you've managed to wrangle an invitation.

Hattie probably knows. She holds her arm behind her, tense but not hostilely so. She answers, "Abraxas invited me to come. We're chess partners, so I have been hearing about festivities for years. Isn't his mother beautiful? People told me, but I had no idea… You're related to the family, distantly, aren't you?" she cants her head to one side.

With perfectly pale flesh and deep red lips, her eyeliner accentuates Zoe's Asian features. Her long, dark hair is woven into an elaborate hairstyle with red flowers and golden adornments. Wearing a Mandarin gown of crimson silk and gold embroidery, she wanders into the drawing room and gazes up at the Christmas tree with a look of awe. Though it has been less than a year since she graduated, few of her classmates might recognize her in such elegant attire.

Studying the lineages of the assorted pureblood families is something of a hobby, so Abraxas says, "Happy yule, Miss Crabbe." to Beryl as he inclines his head politely to her before letting her go past. He continues to exchange greetings, though he arches a brow as he sees Zoe. He does vaguely recognize her, and then he places it, "Oh, that's Professor Pettigrew's daughter…." he murmurs to his father, who just knods knowingly.

Gareth smiles to Hattie then, a knowing look in his eyes. Chess partners, is that what we're calling it? Very well, Gareth can play along. "Distantly, yes. Well, not too distantly, of course. My nanna is Gwyneth Yvor, but before she was married, she was Gwyneth Dywylled, whose father was Eiriandus Dywylled, who was married to Notoria Malfoy. But then, I suppose if you climb around enough in any family tree, you're bound to find all manner of connections. We're all related in one way or another, aren't we?" He takes a small, careful sip of his drink, then smiles again. "So you and Abraxas are…chess partners? I did not know that."

Galahad knows that certain things are expected of him. He will nod to the hosts "Thank you for the invitation, everything seems very well done." He speaks though not wishing to take too much time he'll wait for response but also look at those still entering some he knows and other he doesn't but at least that will be interesting to try and get to know them if he's able. Its a good time to study bonds and the different relationships from afar which is a perk.

If she is picking up what he's laying down, she's not reacting to it. It comes with the territory. "Well, you've been away rather a while, haven't you. Half the club seems to have graduated… Maybe when term resumes, you'll take my place? Schedule permitting, of course." Harriet says, "Merry Christmas," warmly to Zoe as she goes by, and looks back to Gareth. "I know you have other family to greet, so I won't keep you. I hope you have a wonderful time."

Beryl's cool little smile grows into a bright and welcoming one. Tilting her head slightly, she replies smoothly: "And the same to you and your illustrious family, Young Mister Malfoy." In passing, she fixes her keen gaze momentarily on the young man before moving on. She came here with a purpose beyond mere pleasantries and socializing with the rich and famous for the Yule holiday; but, it can wait until later.

The luscious mink coat is unbuttoned, and Beryl foists it into the care of the nearest servant so that it might be tucked away in the ladies cloak room. Then, primping her hair with a light touch, the striking lady in red slips away to find herself something to drink.

In enters the Eibon family, dressed fashionably in expensive garb - except for the young Noalan, of course. In fact as Angelus walks close to his father's side, his chin lifted with an air of importance, he peers over towards his brother with a frown. "Noah, don't you own anything that's actually appropriate for a noble family to wear?" remarks Gel.

The woman on the older Noalan, her blonde hair curled up in a spectacular do, a twinkle in her blue eyes, smiles as she arrives, bowing warmly to everyone. Angeline turns, giving her boys a calm look, though she lets the snipe go.

Angelus walks with a hand resting on his friend's back, smiling brightly to Celes Dashur. To the girl, he asks quietly, "Do you want to go look around, Celes?"

A next to the sixth year Noalan is his friend, Elspeth. It's a big entrance - especially with Megan and maybe Evelyn.

Oblivious to the eyes lingering upon her, Zoe drifts closer to the tree, gazing at the candles and ornaments with an enchanted smile. But, as a servant pauses at her side to offer her a glass of sparkling champagne, the exotic creature accepts with an appreciative smile.

Zoe's eyes flit to Hattie at the young Ravenclaw's greeting. "Merry Christmas," she responds with a clear, British accent.

Gareth does cough this time, though just a little, and his face turns a brilliant shade of scarlet. "Replace you?" he asks between coughs. "With Abraxas? I hardly think either of us would be compatible for such an endeavor." He blinks a few times, getting his breathing under control, even if his color is still too dark. "Oh, you meant on the chess team, didn't you? Er. Of course, you did. Yes well, that's always a possibility, I suppose. Oh, but don't let me keep you. I'm sure you have better things to do than lurk in a corner with me all evening." He offers a weaker smile than before, then quickly downs the rest of his goblet and begins seeking out another tray-bearing servant.

Abraxas can barely hide his surprise at the Eibons and their entourage. His chin lowers and his brows go up in a universally understood, 'No, really?' sort of look. But he soon rallies and banishes it behind a face of bland politeness. He manages to be very convincing indeed, "Welcome to Malfoy Manor. Happy Yule. We're so pleased you could join us."

Enceladus, of course, is famously the picture of decorum, and it doesn't seem like it bothers him, though there is the sense of calculation behind those cold eyes. Eurydice exchanges hugs and many air-kissed-cheeks with her opposite numbers on the female side, and shares chatter about who is wearing whom this season and how slim everyone looks.

Taking a small sip of champagne, Zoe's gaze drifts across the room, searching for the friend who secured an invitiation for her. Ah, there she is. In the corner with a rather handsome young member of the Goyle family. With a smile of impish mirth, Zoe watches her friend for a moment before looking to the Abraxas and his parents as they greet the Eibons.
Hattie has connected.

Lara arrives late at the scene, escorted by her elder sister up to the gate, before being left on her own. She is wearing the black gown she had already been wearing for Halloween, but this time the dress is sparkling with golden glitter, making it look less old-fashioned and lighter, despite its rich embroideries. Her chestnut hair is tamed into a tidy pinned up hairstyle and she has even managed to convince her sister to borrow her a pair of her fancy black gloves and a short golden necklace for tonight. Nervously Lara shows her invitation to the servant at the gates, signed by Abraxas Malfoy. When she is led into the manorhouse, she stops in the entrance to the front hallway, staring in awe and feeling thoroughly intimidated both by the imposing nature of the place and the who-is-who in the crowd. Not that she knows many of them, but she knows enough to see how well-connected the Malfoy family is…

The man watches and more and more enter studying a bit though he knows he should also mingle and speak to others. Galahad tries to decide where to start his gaze finds Zoe who he's not really seen before and so the red haired wizard will move off that direction. "Happy Christmas." the man says with a friendly smile once he's close enough to her to not have to speak loudly.

"Always a pleasure. I do hope your evening is going well. I'm glad recent unpleasantness didn't get in the way of having a good celebration." The Elder Eibon says, making no attempt to put any kind of sincerity into his tone, his mouth turning up in the briefest of smiles.

"What? It's silk." Lan says, unperturbed. The silk robes in question, however, are extremely simplistic, forest green, and somehow already rumpled, which matches his hair nicely. "I only dress this way so you'll actually look half way decent in comparison Aelus." He hangs back though, never really one for parties in any form.

Celes did her best to pick the current most 'in' fission in the wizarding world at the moment in dark blue with silver trim and embroidery. For now, she sticks close to Angelus, wanting to feel out the crowd having never been to the Malfoy house before. "Ya, I'd love to." She says to Angelus.

Zoe smiles up at Galahad. "Happy Christmas. Wait… have I seen you before?" As she tilts her head, the golden ornaments glimmer in her hair. "Ah, I suppose not. But, you look a lot like Marcus Weasley."

Abraxas is probably in the midst of greeting the small army of Eibons and friends in the main hall, though he stops long enough to accept a soft drink from a servant. "Only two more months…." he observes, dourly, to no one in particular. He nods to the elder Noalan, and says, "One must never forget social responsiblities, Mister Eibon." Noticing Lara enter looking lost, Abraxas steps forward, "Ah, Stuart, glad you could make it. Come in and make yourself at home. I wanted to introduce you to my cousin Cassius. I think he'd be very interested to hear about your brother." He turns, but Cassius and Rhyeline are off in the crowd, "We'll track him down." he says, "There are a few other Ravenclaws here as well. Hattie Wilkins and Gareth Carrow."

Although Elspeth looks around her as they enter and she waits to greet the hosts, it's more with an artistic appreciation than awe as she smiles at her surroundings. Her dark red hair has been bound in intricate braids but she's left a few long curls down one shoulder. Only knowing that she is, in fact, muggle born gives her away as she has dressed in a witch's gown of current style and elegant simplicity. Her smile to Abraxas seems quite genuine as she dips her head to accept his greeting. "It is a pleasure to be included," she replies politely, and the same courtesy extends to his parents as she dips properly while expressing an appreciation for the hospitality. staying out of the brother's squabble, she drifts a little closer to Evelyn until they have made it into the party proper.

Galahad chuckles a little at her words but its light given the party atmosphere and all. "I dont believe we have met, though must be family resemblance. I'm Galahad Weasley." he will offer his hand in greeting to the other at the introduction. She at least seems quite friendly which is a good thing.

Hattie takes her leave, genuinely genial when she says, "I am sure that someone of your stature could not be said to lurk at such a party. Good evening." Walking through the crowd with a little mandarin-variety orange, studded with cloves that she takes from one of the floating trays. Jogging it from hand to hand, she is perfectly content to come and give soft well-wishes to the party that has arrived with the Eibons. "Brightest yule," she greets Evelyn and Elspeth, who are housemates, but repeats it also for Celes, Angelus and Noalan. She doesn't hover, though. "Malfoy," she asks of Abraxas when there is a moment. "Is that the library, over there?"

Zoe accepts Galahad's offered hand with a grin. "Yes, it's the smile. You both have the same tilt to it. Oh, and my name is Zoe. I came with Margayle Solomon. But…" She pauses, looking around the drawing room with an impish grin. "I can't see her anymore…"

Galahad shakes her hand evenly still smiling unable to help it "Ah, well I guess the red-hair is only a partial giveaway this time he looks up towards his own hair though back glancing bout quickly though he doesnt see either who she mentions. "Ah, well i'm sorry your friend left you here, are you enjoying the party all the same. I hope? he asks given these things can be overwhelming at times.

"Eurydice, you look absolutely stunning tonight," Angeline pipes up in her friendly, social tone. A warm, kind air surrounds the woman as she graciously returns the air-kisses, her hands reaching out to rest softly on Eurydice's arms. "It's such a pleasure to be here, thank you. A happy yule in return.

Angelus holds himself upright, his form proper as his lips are just touched with a smile, echoing his father. He offers an insignificant bow of his head. "Good evening, sirs, ma'am." He turns his head slightly, giving Noalan a look. If his attire wasn't embarrassing enough, the fact that his brother brought Elspeth makes him downright uncomfortable as he shifts lightly on his feet. But there isn't anything he can do about that - he just prays that Elspeth continues to act right. In contrary to his brother's robes, Angelus is dressed in red silk brocaded with gold, intricate patterns working its way over the fine fabric. The youth smiles warmly to Celes, nodding to her as he intends to stray from his parents side.

Grateful to see a familiar face, Lara drops a polite curtsy to Abraxas and his parents, giving them her best smile. "Thank you, Mr Malfoy. Thank you for your invitation and hospitality. Happy yule." Seeing that Abraxas is busy welcoming more guests (most of whom looking rather more important than herself) she moves further inside the hall. Glancing around she suddenly wonders if wearing a dress was the right choice for tonight. Even more so as she isn't sure if her dress isn't in fact Muggle-made. Then again, considering wizarding prejudices, Muggles who serve wizards would probably be seen as in their rightful place, wouldn't they? Who knew what pure-bloods were thinking when left to themselves… When she spots her fellow Ravenclaws, Lara moves over, greeting her Evelyn, Elspeth and Hattie.

"Wilkins!" Elspeth greets brightly. "It is being wonderful to see you here. Hullo, Stuart," she adds. A question about a library is of great importance, so she turns to her own party for the moment, giving a slight smile at Lan seeking his quiet corner.

Gareth has not only found a fresh goblet, but another spot to linger in outside the general pattern of cheeful traffic. As he looks around, he finds his parents with a group of adults, while Nanna is sitting with some equally ancient folk, all likely chatting away about the good ol' days (also known as the Dark Ages). Neither conversation group seems particularly attractive to Gareth, so he contents himself with silently appraising a vase or something. When that grows dull, he begins examining the portraits — or rather, their gilded frames, as he avoids eye contact with the rather judgemental subjects themselves.

Abraxas nods as Elspeth greets him, "Welcome." he says, and manages a smile - he doesn't dislike her personally, at least. But he does glance around, as if expecting the family portraits to start raising a ruckus. Clearing his throat, he says, "It appears that the Ravenclaws are well represented tonight." He's still standing next to Lara as Hattie approaches - or vice-versa "Oh, Wilkins… Lovely dress. Your tailor has done fine work." A slightly ironic smile, "Happy yule. And yes, your keen bibliophile senses have not let you down. Would you care to see it, ladies?" The door is open for visitors anyway, but Abraxas leads the way, which gives him a quiet moment out of the spotlight anyway.

Hattie exclaims, "You all look very pretty! I wish I could have brought my camera!" To Abraxas's compliment she says, "Oh… thank you, Malfoy. And again, for the invitation. It's exactly like you said it would be. Are you sure it won't be any trouble?"

Noalan doesn't quite go as far as heading for a corner, but he continues to hang back giving little "Thanks," and "Good to see you"'s or sometimes just nods in return to all the greetings. He seems to relax a little once all the mandatory pleasantries are given, and takes a moment to check out the room. "Leave it to Ravenclaws to ask about books even before food."

Celes is eager to check out another old blooded wizarding families house. The history here must be amazing, on top of the unique and sometimes eccentric character of each magical home. "Do you know if they have an art gallery or artifact collection? I'd love to see that."

"That is why I am being lucky to be with you," Elspeth informs Lan, walking sideways for a couple of steps as she follows. "I am knowing I can be counting on you to be finding the best food.". She gives him a wink before she turns her attention to the library excursion. "That is being a beautiful bright color, Wilkins." She falls in stride along with Lara. "you are wearing an elegant ensemble, Stuart.". there is a questioning note on the word ensemble as she tries the term.

Zoe smiles back up at Galahad with a nod. "Of course. This home is so beautiful. The Christmas Tree is breathtaking. It almost rivals the one at Hogwarts. Almost." She looks to the Malfoys just as their son is heading off with a few of his friends.

Overhearing Noalan's remark, Zoe looks to him with an impish giggle. "They pursue their sustenance of choice. Not to your taste? Have you tried the champagne?"

Lara starts to relax. "I would very much love to see it." she replies with a smile, following Abraxas towards the library, returning the compliments as they are given, although raising an eyebrow at the term 'ensemble'. As they walk she whispers to Abraxas quietly. "Just out of curiosity - why did you invite us to this party? I feel honored, but I've got the feeling we are, well, in the minority." She gestures to the other two girls.

"Rosen came with the Eibons." Abraxas supplies, for Lara, as he leads the group through the double doors into the large library, with its bookshelves, spiral staircase, and balcony around the higher shelves. "As for Wilkins, well, she's my herbology expert for our little expedition, and the party was a wager over a game of chess. You, on the other hand, are here because I think that you really should meet Cousin Cassius and his fiancee, Rhyeline Diderot, who, in addition to being the one who's tutoring me in German, is the woman behind the man behind Unity." A wry smile, "Not my personal belief, but we Malfoys do look out for each other, and I think he'll find your story a compelling one." He stops in the middle of the library floor. "So, here it is."

Angelus has the distinct urge to brag, but he suffices with a haughty smile. His royal blue eyes sweep around calmly, but it's obvious that the youth is looking for someone in particular. A lets out a soft sigh as he shakes his head. "I had hoped Lu would be around. I don't see her," he murmurs. "Do you see Mistress Black anywhere?" It's not really a question directed to Celes, and as he looks to her he grins. "We can certainly see if they do. Malfoy," Angelus asks the fifth year as he trails after, lifting his head lightly. "Dashur was wondering if you had an art gallery, or any artefacts on display."

Galahad looks about before back he nods in agreement "I could see that and I do remember the trees at Hogwarts always something special those, one of the many things that I miss though I am not sure I appreciated it until after i'd left the school." he comments though another glance around. "I'm sure you probably want to find your friend or at least meet up with others. I just thought i'd say happy christmas."

And as the little group wanders away, they are caught by a photographer, "Smile!" he says, and there's a flash of flashpowder after everyone gets close enough. Hattie apparently jinxed them. But getting Abraxas Malfoy in a picture with two half-bloods and a muggle-born is probably an accomplishment.

Hattie exclaims, "A camera!" and shoots out a hand at it in delight. "What model is it? Can I see? What settings are you using in this light!" She's so slight and so cheerful and so… forceful in that moment, that her fingers, usually so familiar with camera bodies, finds the catch on the back, releasing the film aparatus into the light in a spiral. She looks mortified. "Oops! I'm so sorry!"

"Yes, I should probably make sure she doesn't get into too much trouble. It was nice meeting you though," says Zoe with a coquettish smile up at Galahad. She lifts her glass before drifting off in search of her friend.

Noalan trails behind Elspeth. He doesn't have any real urge to visit the library, but it's as good a location as any. On top of that, he has a fair bit of anxiety with letting Elspeth get too far out of his sight in this house. "I think it would be more accurate to say that's why I with you. It sometimes seems like half of what I eat comes from your shop." Lan winces at the flash, blinking away the spots it causes.

Lan - "Not really much for champagne either, though you've now put the image of a bunch of drunk Ravenclaws in a library in my head. Or perhaps more like a cat with catnip, rubbing up against the shelves and making odd noises."

Abraxas hides a snort behind his hand as Hattie accidentally destroys the picture. "I think Mother and Father would rather you focus on the adults…" he says, shooing the man off. The photog grumbles and starts to reload his camera, wandering back out of the library.

"It's ok Angelus." Celes says, though too late to actually stop him from asking, "I don't mind just looking around and if we come across something, we come across it." She says reaching to grab his arm. The last thing she would want is for her question got be the indirect cause of a scene happening here.

The mention of her shop brings a smile to Elspeth, although it is dimmed slightly, that particular expression being erased behind the surprise of the picture, then the amusement as Hattie 'fumbles' the camera. As Lan is following, she slows a bit so she can walk with him.

Hattie trails a few steps after the man, gushing, "Oh, gosh, really I am sorry… Were there very many shots on the roll? I didn't see any other flashes. Are you a reporter? I'm so embarassed! Mine only takes one at a time on a plate…" As he gets too far away, Hattie's entreaties slow, and eventually stop. She rejoins the group with a sheepish expression. And considerably more quiet.

Abraxas is still trying not to laugh at Hattie's whole little song and dance. Finally, when the photographer is gone, he bursts into a laugh, "Apparently, you've been spending too much time in the arts club around Professor Beery. That was very entertaining. I think we've moved right past the pantomime and into the harlequinade."

Zoe looks to Noalan and bursts into impish laughter at the mental image he paints. Following after him, she says, "I want to see that. A lot. Oh, and have you seen Margayle?" Wearing that crimson robe and the make-up accentuating her Asian features, they might not recognize her at once. But, her voice would give her away quick enough.

Angelus draws in a breath and cocks his head, smiling at Celes. "Oh, I'm sure it wouldn't be any trouble," he says in response to his friend. "I'm sure Malfoy would take pride in showing off his families collections." He casts a glance at Abraxas as he speaks rather matter-of-fact, a smile flickering, nodding his head to the older boy. Who would ever expect there were problems between Abraxas and Angelus? But he hangs back from the group heading to the library, letting them go as he bobs a nod to Celes. "Let's go look around then." Before he does, however, Angelus offers Zoe a polite smile and a nod. "Good to see you again, Qian."

The party is in full swing by now, and while refreshments will continue to be served all night, the band has struck up dance music in the hall, playing appropriately wizard music, most of it with some sort of yule theme. A group of Ravenclaw girls - and at least one Eibon trailing along - had asked to be shown the library, so that's where Abraxas is, with Hattie and Lara, and the couple of Elspeth and Noalan.

Hattie isn't owning up to anything, though she does inadvertently do sparkle-hands. She presses a little forward to owl-boggle at the reading material, fingers question out over smooth-bound spines. "Look at the windows…" she coos.

Zoe offers Angelus a bright smile. "Hello Eibon. Life been treating you well?" Her gaze shifts to Celes. "And I remember your face. But, not your name. Tell me again?" Zoe's eyes shine with curiosity as she follows them into the library.

Can fourteen year olds be stunning? Perhaps. If so, then Lucretia Black is certainly putting her best effort forward. Silks in a midnight hue have been dressed with magically-sparkling accents along the lace-trimmed decoletage and the intricately embroidered hems. The outfit flatters her figure to its pinnacle, sweeping along behind her in a slight train. Her neck and ears gleam with expensive gemstones. Even her hair speaks of wealth and prestige, with its looping coils swirling at the nape of her neck and scented black narcissus blooming elegantly in the chignon. There's the faintest touch of makeup, enough to accentuate her colouring and features without being gauche.

Wizarding royalty indeed.

Without a word to Angelus, she breezes into the Library and finds her place beside Malfoy. "There you are, Abraxas. I apologise for the disappearance. I was delayed by my parents. Daddy wanted to introduce me to some members of the Wizengamut." She lowers her voice for a split second before turning a smile of greeting on Hattie.
Lucretia whispers: I see that the Embarassment is here, and with his usual riffraff in tow. *She seems to indicate Noalan here.*

"They get really close some times, when the library is good enough." Lan says but then can only shrug hopelessly at Zoe, "I'm afraid not. Who, or what is it?" He asks, keeping up with the rest of the group.

A vague scent begins to drift and waft through the air; a mingling of smoke and exotic spice hailing from a land far away. At first, it is faint and ephemeral, but it soon grows stronger until the cause appears. Beryl, the lady-in-red finally makes a reappearance after several hours of mingling around with other guests in the background.

Her slim fingers elegantly carry a very long, sleek cigarette holder; and from the end, a dark Kretek slowly seeps little tendrils of smoke as she enters the library. Idly, the dramatic auburn-haired woman glances over the books, and the children gathered in the room. Whatever she may be thinking, she keeps to herself at the moment, studying each little, innocent face in turn with cool curiosity.

Celes frowns nervously at Angeluses instance. "I know but…" Her frown turns into a relived smile at his acceptance. "Yes, that sounds good." She's about to follow Angelus away from the group heading to the library when Zoe greats her, "Oh hi, I'm Celes. Celes Dashur." She tilts her head slightly, "You were in our house weren't you?" She asks, only having the vaguest memories of it being so far down in years in comparison.

Abraxas smiles as he sees Lucretia, and puts his hands out for the social air-kisses he's probably learned from his mother. "Good to see you, Lucretia. You look lovely as always." She whispers to him, and he nods, "Are you really surprised?" he says, with a tilt of his head. "You just missed Wilkins here counfounding a photographer without ever pulling her wand. I was very impressed." He glances over as he sees Beryl come in, too. "I see our whole little adventuring party is here…" he murmurs.

A smile flutters more warmly across Angelus' face as he has time to offer a nod to Zoe. "Very well, thank you, Qian," says the youth. He allows Celes to answer for herself before he watches the entourage go. At that Gel catches sight of a magnificent sight, and as his blue eyes sweep towards Lucretia his breath catches. "Wow, you look marvelous, Lu," says the youth in a stunned tone, dumb-founded. In fact, he just about stumbles after her when he realises what they were going to do. With a shake of his head, he blinks, turning to Celes and nodding even as his ears have reddened. "Yes, of course," he says Celes.

Zoe looks to Noalan with an impish grin. "Margayle… She was a Ravenclaw. Graduated year before last. Don't worry, I think she's in good hands, if she's no where to be seen." Turning back to Angelus and Celes, Zoe nods at the girl nods at Celes with an impish grin. "That's right. Wait… aren't you the little one who was always going on about dinosaurs?" Her keen eyes catch Angelus' stunned expression and follow it to Lucrietia. Her amused smile grows as her gaze flits back and forth between the two.

Abraxas murmurs, sotto vocce for those near him, "What do Angelus Eibon and Hogwarts have in common today?" A beat. "No class."

Hattie looks, again, sheepish. "With Black here, all the photographers will come, because she always looks splendid. I'm glad you escaped the who's-who," she says to Lucretia. "The night would not have been complete without you."

A gleam of wicked humour flickers behind Lucretia's eyes at Abe's compliments on her looks. "I know," she replies impishly. "I'd indulge in some hoary platitude, such as 'Oh this old thing?', but it's not a colour I wear well." The twinkle in her eyes increases at Abe's joke at Angelus' expense, but she doesn't respond to that with anything more than an approving smirk. "Oh, Hattie, you really are an absolute darling. I shall have to bring you with me everywhere so that you can bolster my fragile ego with your compliments. Tell me, dear, are you enjoying your holidays?" Angelus is, of course, completely ignored. As are the others mostly, save Beryl.

Beryl's green-eyed gaze drifts toward Abraxas, and a little hint of a smile curls at the corners of her lips, briefly. Seeing as she is near enough Lucretia and the boy to catch his little remark about the Eibon lad, a twinkle of mirth shows in her eyes. However, it would be crass to laugh, and a light chuckle will do, instead.

A long, slow draw is taken of the Kretek, causing the end to glow bright orange. Then, releasing a languid rivulet of milky smoke from between her lips, she lowers the holder and addresses Abraxas: "Well then, as you say, the little adventuring party is all here." Her voice is soft, silvery and smooth - quite unlike what one might expect from her. "My curiosity has definitely been piqued. And, I admit that is no easy task, these days…" Meaning rather pointedly: Any chance we can cut the social chit-chat and get down to brass tacks?

Abraxas whispers back and forth with Lucretia for a moment before he turns his attention to the approaching Beryl, "Oh, yes. This is Lucretia Black and Hattie Wilkins. They'll be coming along. Hattie, Lucretia, this is Miss Beryl Crabbe, late of Gringott's, and now in, erm, private business, I believe my father said? She came highly recommended by the tour company to watch over us and make sure we don't get lost and eaten by a dragon or cannibals or something."

Hattie stops fondling the Malfoy family book collection, saying, "Well, if I'm to be an accessory for saggy spirits, hopefully I'm more utility belt than clutch. Today has been wonderful—" she says, but Beryl's comment draws her up short. She goes quiet. Abraxas's introductions made, Hattie's eyebrows raise. "Have you been where we are going before, Ms. Crabbe?"

Zoe looks to Abraxas, catching his mention of dragons and cannibals. Curiosity piqued, she approaches with a bright smile of interest. "You are going off on an adventure?" she asks them all.

"Oh, afraid not. Just got here after all." Lan says to Zoe. Though, he could have walked straight past her on the way in and likely wouldn't have connected the name to the person. When she moves on to talking to his brother, he moves over to join Elspeth. "So, how does theirs compare?"

"And magical dinosaurs." Celes adds, "Not that we could tell which were which anymore." She grins in a self-deprecating way. "Ya that was me." At Abraxas's comment, she glances nervously at Angelus, trying to gauge his reaction and how long a fuse he might have tonight.

"It goes against my principles to allow children to be eaten by wild beasties," Beryl remarks drily, flashing a smirk. "Adults are another story. It's also very bad for business." One may assume that is the best greeting they could hope to receive from the seemingly eccentric woman. Cursebreakers are an odd lot.

Stepping aside to a small table, she gives the long-stemmed holder a demure tap to release the gathered ashes at the tip of her Kretek into an ash tray. Turning back to the various teenagers with a calm smile, her eyes move to Hattie: "Gringotts is full of greedy little bastards who send their agents wherever the gold may lie." One might suppose that that is answer enough.

Suppose strings are pulling them in the direction of the library. Angelus' lips curve with amusement as he tilts his head to Abraxas. "You've got a knack for jokes, Malfoy." The fourth year lets out a chuckle, bobbing his head in good sportsmanship. His blue eyes shift to Zoe, lowering his head and piping up, "They're going to South America. That sounds like an interesting adventure, doesn't it?" Flashing a smile, he adds in as he looks to Lucretia. "Perhaps you'll be able to make use of your holiday gift. Assuming you get it before you go," he offers. He glances at Celes, giving her a little shake of his head.

As she's perusing some titles on the shelves, Elspeth isn't facing the rest as Angelus and Abraxas have a few words, so no one sees her hold her breath. "What? Hm?" she turns as Lan asks the question and grins. "I am seeing some of the same titles. Perhaps they are being a must for any tasteful wizard library? But there are being some new ones as well." She lowers her voice a bit. "I will be having you know that we are not making odd noises. You are just being jealous that you are not understanding our Ravenclaw language."

Zoe half-turns to Angelus as he supplies her with their destination. Her smile brightens as she looks to Beryl and then Abraxas with his friends. "South America? What part? To the Amazon? It's such a beautiful place! Dangerous and beautiful. Such a perfect combination, no?"

Beryl arches one absolutely perfect eyebrow and smirks at Zoe. "That's what people usually say of me," she jokes, languidly "sitting" on the plush arm of a chair.

"Yes, South America." Abraxas says, shooting an annoyed look at Angelus, and shutting his teeth with a click before he hurls something not in the Yule spirit. With a slight lift of his chin, he turns away and continues, "Professor Lestrange suggested I broaden my horizons. He said there are amazingly pure wizard tribes in the Amazon Basin that have to be seen to be believed. And, of course, the feathered serpents and the rare plants that Wilkins is just dying to see… Wasn't there some orchid?"

Hattie is in a position of dubious trust, answering, immediately, "Several."

Zoe giggles impishly and nods to Beryl. "Most fitting. I can tell from but a glance that you are both." Looking to Abraxas, she tilts her head with interest. "Professor Lestrange? Sound advice. And he is quite right. I've seen them. Tomaca, one of my oldest friends, he is from the Guunan tribe." She looks to Beryl with growing fascination. "You have been through the Amazon Basin before?"

"I can attest to no understanding the Hufflelpuff language either then because I'm sure I heard Emi making those same noises." Lan says, "But then, you don't understand the subtle language of Slytherins either. I mean, I bet you can't even tell the difference between spider venom, snake venom, and arsenic by taste, let alone what each means when placed on which food. It's like a higher stakes version of Floristry." He grins a little after this.

"I can vouch for how splendid travel it is," Angelus announces, dipping his head lightly as he smiles. Apparently he's not fazed by what seems to be unpleasant reactions. "Not that we've stopped there for long," he explains, cocking his head back lightly. A hum escapes the youth as he considers. "I'd offer to come along, but I've been thinking about my own journey." His lips curve just a little as he lowers his head again. He doesn't, of course, elaborate. "Back in time for our family's party, of course."

Resting prettily on her arm-of-the-armchair perch, Beryl tilts her head slightly and gazes at Zoe in a somewhat owlish manner. For a lingering moment, she works the cigarette holder between her teeth with almost imperceptible motion. Then, a thin little trail of smoke seethes from her refined nostrils, leaving her to look like a very attractive little dragon - if only briefly. "As I said, Gringotts sends its agents far and wide. I tend to avoid specifics and reminiscences, personally. Call it part and parcel with trade-secrets, my dear."

Pausing a beat, the keen, green gaze slips toward Angelus and remains fixed on the youth for a time. Enigmatic as Beryl tends to be, it's impossible to guess what may be tip-toeing through her mind.

Hattie brushes down the front of her dress, doing her fair share of conjecturing. "I expect whatever one is after, they will be opportunities to find it. But possibly final opportunities for some of us, for a while. … Good luck, then. If you'll excuse me," she says, backing up a bit towards the exit. "I want to see if I can catch a glimpse of my grandparents out there, before the night ends."

Abraxas just closes his eyes as Angelus speaks, and pinches the bridge of his nose. He wants so badly to say something mean and nasty, but he's fighting the urge. His own thoughts are clear - he doesn't think highly of what the other boy just said. He looks up at Hattie, though, and says, "Oh, of course. I think I saw them in the drawing room a bit earlier. I'll see you tomorrow." To Zoe and Beryl, he says, "I'm surprised at how much I'm looking forward to joining the little fraternity of people who've been somewhere else."

Elspeth chuckles. "I am not sure that Emi is speaking the language of anyone else," she confides. As Angelus enters into the game of talking of the trip to South America, one which she is sure does not include her. "I am becoming hungry, and as I have been looking over the library, I have been fulfilling my obligation of a Ravenclaw by asking after books before inspecting the food. Would you be caring to join me in seeking some refreshment?" she asks, moving to take his arm so that they can return to the edges of the main party. As Hattie takes her leave, she follows suit, giving Abraxas a polite smile. "You are having a truly amazing library, Malfoy. Thank you for showing it to me."

As if oblivious to the tension, Zoe looks to Angelus with a curious tilt of her head. "You didn't stop long? Where did you stop?" She glances back to Abraxas and then to Beryl, easily distracted. "It's wonderful to have travelled. To have feet aching and dusty. To be exhausted, but still smiling with sheer joy. It's wonderful." She tucks an imaginary strand of hair behind her ear. "If you need someone else… to keep the paths safe… tell me. I would love to help. If you need."

Beryl laughs lightly to herself. Zoe is a quaint little thing with a far more innocent mind than hers, clearly. The only reason Beryl has ever traveled has been to seek greener pastures - whether by order or under her own volition. "I'm afraid I travel for monetary gain," she remarks smoothly, resting her elbow on her knee. "Not particularly for experience. Occasionally, upon seeking green pastures, one finds only spinach waiting for them there. But, nothing ventured - nothing gained."

A few of the young people are drifting out of the room now, and Beryl's expression quirks into a bemused one: "I do hope I'm not driving your friends away." She says, directing her comment to Abraxas.

"To broaden your horizons, Malfoy?" Angelus queries as he lifts his head, smiling smoothly at the older boy. "You'll be an experienced traveller then, right?" His head nods, and his blue eyed gaze drifts to Beryl, perhaps catching her stare. "I don't think we've had the pleasure to really meet, ma'am," says Angelus in a polite and formal bow to Beryl. Straightening, he offers out a hand. "I believe you've heard of our family. I'm Angelus, of course." And he waves out a hand, resting it on the small of Celes' back. "And this is Celes Dashur. Not as well known, but respectable." His smile flickers out.

"My friends are made of sterner stuff." Abraxas says, "But for the record, I want to know what's out there. I'm curious about how magic is done in other places, and what secrets there might be." He's a Slytherin, after all… It's all about power and ambition, even if it means something different to him than to Beryl. He looks at Zoe, and says, blandly, "That's very generous of you, but I think my father has made all the arrangements already. Perhaps the next trip." Angelus doesn't even get the dignity of a response.

Zoe looks to Abraxas with a bit of a grin. She doesn't seem to mind that he turns down her offer. "Ah, you are off to hunt for secrets? I know we all travel for different things… For riches…" She glances to Beryl with an impish smile. "Or because they are lost." She shrugs. "Only a few do it for the delight of the journey itself… like my mother." Her gaze flits curiously to Angelus as he introduces himself and his friend to the treasure hunter.

"Now you're talking." Lan says, perking up. He moves to join Elspeth in returning to the main party, and food. "And don't worry, I won't attempt to teach you the Slytherin language tonight. I didn't even remember to bring my mercury along."

Softly, Beryl chuckles at Abraxas' comment about his friends. There may be a gap in years between them, but she seems to be able to speak on an equal level with this boy. That is gratifying to know. It will make the journey more interesting. "We'll get on well enough, I think." She remarks quietly before taking another small draw from her dwindling Kretek.

Angelus draws her attention. Again, she works the holder between her teeth in a thoughtful way before giving a slow nod. "Your family?" She replies languidly. "Oh yes, a great deal. A great deal." Absolutely nothing in her expression or tone indicates what, precisely, she means by that. Most people would rightfully find it worrisome. As for Celes, a vaguely confused look passes through the look she gives. Apparently, the name Dashur rings no bells. However, regardless of this, she smiles: "Beryl Crabbe - Ms. Crabbe, more properly. A pleasure, I'm sure."

"It must be strange now that your mother has settled down to teach at Hogwarts." Abraxas says, to Zoe. "She's quite the change from Professor Dumbledore as well." That last part sounds like neither condemnation nor praise. "Have you decided to settle in London instead of with your father's people?" He glances at Beryl, and arches a brow. If he's reading her tone correctly, they appear to agree on something. His gaze turns, basilik-like, towards Angelus. "I can only hope to someday be as wonderful as you, Eibon. Truly, you are the reincarnation of Merlin. The gods smiled on us the day that you were born. World traveler, romantic, epicure… how can any of us hold a candle." The sarcasm drips so very heavily it risks staining the carpets.

Celes steps up beside Angelus when she's introduced and gives the adult a nervous smile, "It's nice to meet you Ms. Crabbe. Of course I heard of your family. Angelus helped me study a lot of the pure families when we were in the Magijugend." She pauses and blushes a bit, "And, well, I'm kind of a fan. I'm really into archaeology and I follow a lot of treasure hunter exploits. It's one of the professions I was considering when I graduate."

"Settle? Me?" Zoe giggles, shaking her head. "The longest I've ever lingered anywhere was at Hogwarts each year. And that's cause I had to." As Abraxas' features take on such a venomous expression, her head tilts ever so slightly, intrigued by the young Malfoy. Her dark gaze flits to Angelus as she takes a small sip of champagne. This isn't a quarrel she tries to step into. As Celes speaks up to Beryl, explaining her interests, Zoe listens with a bit of a grin. "It's a dangerous one… isn't it?" She glances at Beryl. "And… not so good if you like archaeology? It's more grab and run for your life rather than study and preservation."

The striking auburn witch is mid-draw on the last of her Kretek when Abraxas makes his little speech to Angelus, and she coughs abruptly. Doing her utmost to subdue it quickly and quietly, she snubs out the remainder of it in the ashtray. This allows her to look away from the others and hide the expression of amusement in her eyes. Sweet Merlin's Beard, that was a doozy…

Softly, Beryl "ahems" and recovers her composure to look between Zoe and Celes once more. "It's a hard life." She replies, frankly, although not without a smile. "But, the rewards can be priceless. However, as she says," a nod is given in Zoe's direction, "We seldom get to stop and do careful research. Our job is to get in, grab the item or items in question, and get back out as quickly - and with as little conflict as possible. Apparition is dangerous, life-threatening, uncomfortable travel; but I've had to take that gamble more times than I care to admit… just to survive." Some call it the coward's escape. Beryl would argue the point as it has often allowed her to live to die another day.

An amused expression flickers across Angelus' features, smirking as he looks to Celes. "I've been helping her find out who her father is. He's Albanion," he enlightens, flashing out a smile. He is completely unperturbed about Abraxas. His smile grows at the mention of knowing many things, and he gives the adult witch an expectant nod. "Well my father is very well known; always in the right circles." His blue eyes flick onto Abraxas, and he flashes a grin. "Well maybe someday you'll step out from my shadow," Angelus responses eagerly, tilting back his head. "I'm Angelus Eibon, Star of the wizarding world, shone on by Merlin himself." Whether he actually realises the sarcasm or not, he acts as though it completely went over his head. He gives an over-exaggerated bow, deep and with his arms spread out. "The fame is always fantastic - well suited to a Star." His lips curve, and he looks onto Beryl. "It was a pleasure to meet you, ma'am." He shifts his gaze onto Celes. "Did you want to continue talking, or would you like to head upstairs?" He turns his gaze to Abraxas. "You're family throws a grand party, Malfoy."

"Yes, I forgot 'a legend in his own mind'." Abraxas deadpans when Angelus struts about what a star he is. A shake of his head and a long exhaled breath, as if disbelieving, before he goes back to safely ignoring the other boy. "Well, Ms. Crabbe, I'm glad to know that we have you along to look out for difficulties along the way. Though alas, all of your charges are too young to apparate." Zoe draws his attention back for a moment, "Wanderlust, then? You always did have that, even at school."

Zoe looks to Abraxas with a blink of surprise. "Eh? You noticed? Or did you hear about the time I followed my brother up onto the Hogwarts rooftop? And now that I'm not at Hogwarts anymore I can finally confirm that rumor." Her eyes shine with impish mirth as she grins.

Celes touches her side, as if searching for a pocket. If only she had a paper and pencil, either to take notes or for an autograph. Who cares about Quidditch players, this is much better, "Oh, wow. I knew there were traps and what not, but I didn't expect quite so much action. Too bad, I'd love to be able to do a more careful excavation of places like that." She blinks as Angelus breaks the little hero worship spell she's under and she blinks, "What?" She quickly replays what she can remember of the background conversation and glances nervously at Abraxas, "Uh, maybe we should go." She looks back at Beryl and quickly appologises, "Sorry, I'd love to stay and hear about your adventures, but" Her eyes flick to Abraxas again, "I don't want there to be a scene." Again.

"You think I haven't pulled a partner or two along with me in my time?" Beryl asks Abraxas, a smirk tugging at her lips. She may not yet be thirty, but she's the very definition of experienced. Even if she doesn't like to give away "trade secrets."

As for the antics of Angelus, Beryl suddenly takes on the look of someone who hasn't had nearly enough to drink to be witnessing this sort of malarkey. Reaching into her handbag, she produces a thin, silver cigarette case and flicks the lid open with the press of her fingers. Lacking booze, she'll settle for another Kretek.

"I expect we'll have an interesting trip, Mister Malfoy, regardless. And, your family naturally has my word of honor to do my best to see that you and your friends come back in one piece."

To Celes, Beryl remarks: "Archaeology is different from treasure hunting. And there's a place for that. I'm sure you'll find a niche calling in that department if you look for it." Rare words of encouragement from Ms. Crabbe, indeed.

Abraxas doesn't look like he's going to make a scene, as he responds to Zoe's question, "I'm afraid I hadn't heard about that one. The roof isn't off-limits, though, except the Astronomy and Clock towers, and the former only when it's not class time." He nods to Beryl and adds, with a little quirk of his lip, "I'm sure that my father would be gratified to have his only son back in one piece. But since coming back without us might be career limiting, I'm sure you'll do everything possible. I, on the other hand, will try not to do anything stupid that will make that too difficult for you. Fair enough?"

As Celes agrees to leave, Angelus dips his head lightly and turns to leave after his words of departure. His stature has become far more superior, his smile more smug, his head tipped back as though he was more royal than the King himself. His arm is draped over Celes' shoulders as he walks for the exit of the library.

"I meant the roof part of the roof… not the balconies and towers." Zoe's eyes dance with mirth, hinting that she might not be telling the full truth. Or even part of it. Looking to Beryl, a hint of shyness settles over her as she says, "If you have time… I'd love it if you visited my coffee house. The Sip and Sonder. I would love to hear your stories… whatever stories you might have to share…"

"I expect nothing more or less, Mister Malfoy," Beryl replies with a warm (for her) smile, closing the cigarette case with a snap. Then, slipping the Kretek into the holder carefully, she glances up as Angelus and Celes make their exit from the room. For a moment, she remains silent, regarding them from behind. Then, raising the holder to her lips, still unlit, she quietly asides to Abraxas: "Is that child quite… sound? One hears of these things happening. Cousins marrying and all…"

A glossy, dark walnut wand is produced, and she lights the Kretek with the tip before answering Zoe. "Perhaps," she says, and new stream of smoke is exhaled. "We'll see. I promised myself I'd be as much of a full-time mother as possible, though. I'm only foisting the baby off on a nurse when absolutely necessary. Still, I may get around to your place from time to time."

Celes starts after Angelus but hesitates briefly, "Oh, I know, but Treasure hunters are just so… Amazing. It's almost like /experiencing/ history. I mean…" She cuts herself off before nerding out again. "Uh, anyways, It was very nice meeting you." She says, walking backwards towards Angelus was heading. "and if you ever need anyone to crawl into a tight space… Do treasure hunters have summer apprenticeships?" Blast, if only she could stay longer.

Abraxas raises his hand and gives a little waggle of his fingers in the direction of the retreating Celes and Angelus. As they go, he remarks, in answer to Beryl's question, "I've been asking myself the same question. I rather think he's two knuts off the sickle." Or tuppence off the shilling, as the Muggles would say. "It's complicated. I'll explain around a campfire some night, if we, you know, have campfires." Then he realizes what Zoe said, and looks at her askance, "That's completely mental. And a long way up."

Zoe tries to stifle her laughter before nodding. "Mhm. That's why we never confirmed if we did it. We've climbed up higher places." Looking to Beryl, she smiles with such delight. "Ah! You are a new mother? Congratulations. But, it is possible to be a full-time mother and to still have adventures. My mother did. Even when I was very little."

Beryl gives Abraxas a look that is both understanding and quite sympathetic. Poor boy must deal with this sort of thing, often… what with being in school and all. It'd be enough to drive a body to smoke and drink. Like her. Perhaps that's how it all began - not that she would likely ever tell.

A small, gratified smile is directed toward Zoe, however, Beryl shakes her head slightly: "She's only about two months old. It'll be a while before I even feel safe taking her out of the house." One treasure in Beryl's life that means more than any other is her daughter. Being as new as she is at motherhood, she may be a few years before managing to stop being the protective dragon-mum.

All this aside, Beryl lapses back into a smirk and draws on her smoke languidly: "I look forward to the journey, Mister Malfoy. May our path be the sound of our feet upon the ground… and not alert the natives to our presence." Oh, treasure hunter humour.

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